Q. How do I get transportation for my child?
A. Eligible students are automatically routed after registration. Bus stop information is available at your child’s school.
Q. How is eligibility determined?
A. For primary school grades, eligible addresses are located outside one mile from school. For secondary grades, eligibility begins one and a half miles from school.
Q. Does my child need a bus pass?
A. A student at a bus stop in the morning will be allowed to board the bus without a bus pass as long as he/she attends the school being serviced by that route. Permission slips are required in the afternoon when the student needs to ride the bus to a stop other than their assigned stop. If your child needs a permission slip, send a note with your child. A reminder for your child to take it to the office early in the day is especially helpful.
Q. Are there radios on the buses?
A. All buses are provided with a two-way radio. The dispatch office is in communication with buses at all times; radio transmissions are also monitored by the district’s Transportation staff.
Q. Are there cameras on the buses?
A. Cameras are an important safety feature, and we are currently working on installing camera capability on all of our buses.
Q. How do I change my child’s bus stop from my residence to a daycare provider?
A. Call your school and request a permission slip. Keep in mind that transportation eligibility is based on residence. If your daycare provider is within your school’s attendance area and located along an existing route, a stop may be provided.
Q. I got home late in the PM, and cannot find my child. The school is closed (no answer). What do I do?
A. A call to Midco, 503-992-7167, is the best option. Even after hours, their answering service will contact district staff.
Q. Why is the bus late and why wasn’t I called?
A. Some of the situations that could cause lateness include traffic, weather, vehicle breakdown, or student behavior issues. It is virtually impossible to contact parents when the bus is late. However, we are in radio contact with all of our buses and will report the delay to the schools affected.
Q. Will my child have the same driver every day?
A. Every effort is made to keep driver changes to a minimum. However, efficient routing can cause your child to have different drivers AM, mid-day or PM. Most drivers have three trips every shift and keeping them uniform by school is not always possible.
Q. Why can’t the driver stop at my house to pick up or drop off my child?
A. Certain students, whose needs are addressed through an IEP plan, are eligible for “curbside” service. This service is typically restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible, or where medical issues require this type of service. For other students living in non-rural areas, stops are placed at centralized locations that can be safely accessed by a significant number of students to minimize the time length and mileage of the run. If you have concerns about your child’s safety you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop or arrange a neighborhood buddy to walk with your child.
Q. How will I be notified of a change to my child’s stop time (or stop location)?
A. A flyer will be sent home with students. We will give as much notice as possible. Some circumstances, such as road construction, limit the time available to notify families.
Q. Can I require that my child only be released to me at the bus stop?
A. Kindergarten students need to be met at the bus stop by a parent/guardian, or may walk with an older sibling. For all other students the parent/guardian is responsible for meeting the bus if they deem it appropriate.
Q. What do I need to know about transporting my kindergarten student?
A. Kindergarten students riding the bus with upper grades will need to use existing bus stops. When a bus is carrying only kindergarten students, we will attempt to route the bus as close as possible to the student’s home address. We cannot guarantee door-to-door bus service. Kindergarten students need to be received at their bus stop by an adult, or walk with an older sibling.
Q. What if I miss my kindergarten student’s bus? Will he/she be allowed off the bus?
A. No, the student will not be allowed off the bus. If the child isn’t met, the driver will transport back to school. You should then contact the school.
Q. Why does my child have an assigned seat?
A. Seat assignments are a positive way for the ride to be consistent and safe. This aids the driver and school staff with student management. The driver has the authority to assign seats, as they deem necessary.
Q. Why can’t my child get off where they want?
A. The use of assigned bus stops is in accordance with Oregon Department of Education regulations. To avoid a multitude of issues, the district requires a permission slip, signed by the school to change the destination of students. This allows the drivers to focus on driving and safety instead of having to decide whether the student should be allowed to change their routine and get off with a friend or ride to an entirely different neighborhood. This should be the decision of the parent. The driver has no other way to verify that the parent has made this decision. This policy avoids confusion and the chance of students getting lost.
Q. Do students receive training about what to do in an emergency?
A. Yes, emergency drills are an important part of providing safe pupil transportation and are conducted twice a year at all of our schools.
Q. How do you decide when it’s too dangerous to transport students to school due to inclement weather? Who does it, and how are we notified?
A. During hazardous winter weather conditions, Forest Grove School District administrators drive roads and make decisions on safety of bus travel no later than 5 a.m. Please keep in mind that weather and road conditions can change between the time the roads have been checked and when students are picked up.
Our district covers approximately 250 square miles and within this area we have about five different weather zones. We may have a road problem in one area and not others. We have identified roads within specific areas that have historically been affected during snow and ice conditions. Our snow routes include only those buses as necessary for valid safety concerns.
By mid-November, Snow Route information is mailed to all district families. Keep this chart handy. If all Snow Routes are in effect, the district will announce "Full Snow Routes." When snow affects some bus routes and not others, the district will announce the appropriate Partial Snow Routes "A" through "H" for the affected area.
When severe weather conditions are expected, please listen to the radio or TV for school closure and bus snow route announcements. These announcements usually start at 5:30 a.m. The district office will also have a recorded phone message announcing closures and bus route information by 5:30 a.m. Call 503-357-6171.
Q. Why aren’t seat belts required in school buses?
A. Seat belts are not required in school buses because research by the state Department of Transportation and others determined that compartmentalization was a better solution. Some of the key arguments favoring compartmentalization over seat belts are as follows:
a) Compartmentalization is more manageable. The protective surfaces exist in place without depending on any action by the children or any extra special supervision by the drivers. Seat belts require discipline and supervision to keep them clean, unraveled and in use.
b) Compartmentalization works equally well for 1, 2 or 3 students per seat. Today's 39" wide standard seats may contain three small children or two large ones, or any combination in between. Arranging seat belts to properly handle any combination is difficult, if not impossible; the best known solution with seat belts is to restrict each seat to two students and two belts, which has the disadvantage of sharply reducing the carrying capacity of bus fleets.
c) Compartmentalization works whether students have fully developed abdominal areas or not. Conventional seat belts, which are lap restraints only, are not suitable for small children whose abdominal area and bone structure are not adequately developed to take the force of a lap belt alone. They need the help of chest harnesses also, which adds to the complexity of a proper seat belt solution.
d) Compartmentalization, once it has done its energy-absorbing job, leaves the student free to escape the bus. Seat belts could leave students strapped in, upside down, perhaps unconscious, in burning or flooding buses.